DMA urges members to lobby Congress to throw out USPS union contracts

The Direct Marketing Association today sent a letter to its members urging them to call on Congress to allow the US Postal Service to renege on the contracts it has negotiated with its employees.

The only way to ensure that the Mail remains a viable marketing channel is for Congress to remove USPS’ shackles and let it operate as a real business. The Postmaster General has lots of ideas about how to put USPS on the right track while keeping the Mail affordable for your business. All he needs is the authority to make those changes.

The Postmaster General’s “ideas” include ignoring the no-layoff clause he agreed to just a few months ago, and eliminating federal health and pension benefits for postal workers.

Ironically, the DMA claims to be concerned about jobs, saying “This is not the time to lose American jobs.”

That concern apparently doesn’t extend to the jobs of postal workers.

Update: The DMA’s Jerry Cerasale posted the following comment in response to our story:

For full disclosure, I am a Senior Vice President at DMA. The article makes an incorrect conclusion. DMA did not call for the abrogation of union contracts. The DMA call to action says to “remove USPS’ shackles and let it operate as a real business. I don’t recall that real businesses can “throw out union contracts.”

With all due respect, I would point out that the letter the DMA asked its members to send to Congress says

The Postmaster General (PMG) has asked for authority to help him avoid insolvency for the USPS. He needs the tools that private sector CEOs have to control pension and health care costs their employees and retirees, and to eliminate excess capacity in mail processing plants, retail outlets and employee complement.

Congress should grant the PMG’s request. It is vital that the USPS eliminate its excess capacity because its customers – including my company – cannot afford to continue paying for that excess capacity in light of shrinking mail volume.

The PMG’s request was very specific: “Allow the Postal Service to establish its own health benefits program, Allow the Postal Service to administer its own retirement system, Give the Postal Service the ability to adjust the size of its workforce to match operational needs and the changing marketplace.”

All of those items are covered by provisions in the contracts the USPS has with its unions, including the APWU contract that is just a few months old. The PMG isn’t asking the unions to renogotiate the contracts- he’s asking Congress to throw them out. How can you say “Congress should grant the PMG’s request”, and then turn around and say you’re not calling for the abrogation of union contracts?

via DMA Urges Members to Take Action to Keep Mail Viable.

  • Isaac Cox

    Suprised?

  • BS

    suprised? typical postal worker try surprised

  • dougie

    Everybody should have seen this coming years ago. Times were good and the money was flowing. People turned a blind eye to what we are experiencing today. The unions need to change their way of thinking and try to work with the PMG to save this place from sinking. I think they’re only worried about the money they’ll lose. They won’t agree to 5 day delivery but it’s the most common sense approach and the least impact on the customer yet they disagree, and they have all these politicians in their back pocket. They’re trying to save one day of delivery to save x amount of jobs but in the end, we’ll lose more jobs without 5 day delivery.

  • bd

    HOW ABOUT TAKING AWAY THE JOBS AT THE DMA SEE HOW THEY LIKE BEING UNEMPLOYED.

  • Mailman666

    Lets see…From 2007 through 2010, the USPS paid $20.9B into the future retiree healthcare fund. Net operating losses for that same period were $20.2B. Hmm…without this prefunding, the USPS would have a net profit of $700M, even with the Internet, Unions, 6 day delivery, and the worst recession since the Great Depression.

  • Jerusalem

    Once again, it’s time to trot out “blame the unions,” when in truth the unions have been working with management to help the financial problems. The APWU signed a contract that Donohoe himself said would save $3-4 billion over the length of the contract. The last NALC contract had the city carriers increasing their employee contribution to health care each year, and taking minimal wage increases.

    Business leaders like to see unions weakened, because it means more money for the leaders of the company, rather than the rank and file. And government employee unions are easy targets, because they can turn the middle class against itself by saying “unions profit from YOUR tax dollars!” When really it is employees being paid fair and living wages for services that are provided via tax dollars. Look at what happened in Wisconsin; this is the new conservative vision for the nation.

    I actually think that the unions may have been willing to give up gains this contract cycle, but when you are negotiating with a management who has gone to Congress to ask them to allow you to break your union contracts, how much will the unions wish to give up, believing that their contracts are not being bargained in good faith?

  • John

    Not surprised at all !!!
    One who did not use spell check an one who wants to degrade…
    The issue with all this goes far beyond DMA, who just want to increase the bottom line for all of thier associates.
    As their article mentions “this is not the time to lose American jobs.” Where they and the general public fail at, is where any employment must be of a living wage and not one of a mediocre income. We all must become aware of where we are headed as an overall economy..
    A country of rich and poor…..

  • Barry Painter

    Gene Delapoto and the DMA are nothing more than gutless punks. They are against Unions but they, the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, etc… don’t have the integrity to admit they are performing basically the same functions as a Union while being too big of Cowards to actually call themselves one.
    The basic function of a Union is to obtain the biggest rewards for your membership!
    Corporations and management types have united around one primary goal in America today!
    Forming themselves into one group with a primary purpose no different than those Union members they seek to destroy!

  • J C

    well D M A can you say curtail? Want your mail to go? Well we want our jobs too. So i suggest you fight for all jobs and quit taking sides in a battle you better not win. Temps wont deliver your mail in a timely manner. We have seen the results up close

  • Larry

    republicans hate us and yet half of the people who we work with are teabaggers how stupid we are our own worst enemy

  • house of cards

    hey DMA, lets make you pay for what it cost to mail your crap !you know in germany it would be triple ? you know in the uk almost triple ? you know in india you wouldnt even get it delivered ? yeah we dont care what the price you are paying now, starting tomorrow its a dollar a flat. oh that doesnt sound fair to you ? then why do you urge to renege on contract ? you know i deliver your crap the same excellent way that first class mail is delivered, to me this doesnt sound fair. maybe tomorrow we should just whip your crap on porch because clearly you are not paying for the same service that others are. you monkeys are biting the hand that feeds you, is that clear ? what you and your ills are doing is so un-american it makes me sick to think that i should be more nervous of your kind than terrorist !

  • Jerry Cerasale

    For full disclosure, I am a Senior Vice President at DMA. The article makes an incorrect conclusion. DMA did not call for the abrogation of union contracts. The DMA call to action says to “remove USPS’ shackles and let it operate as a real business. I don’t recall that real businesses can “throw out union contracts.”

  • Laurence Werner

    Not being a employee or management person for the Post Office to me the amount of money the Post Office gets per letter 50 cents —- I don’t see how they can stay in business with all the benefits , pensions and wages they pat! Good luck to the USS Post Office. I think the ship is sinking.

  • ngo-ngo

    LEAVE THAT CONTRACT ALONE! and take PMG Donahoe with you.

  • Liam Skye

    I’m with house of cards on this. It would be far smarter for USPS to start charging major mailers what it actually costs to deliver their mail.

  • mailhandler

    We move their mail for pennies compared to the public, they have successfully cheated the postal service for years by “slipping” mail by the inbound dock clerks with false 8125`s. Maybe we need to go back and collect from the DMA the millons (maybe billons ) they have stolen from us over the years. Then our current money problems would be over.

  • DMA

    DMA (DAMN THE MAILERS’ ASSOC.) AFTER YEARS OF FAITHFULLY DELIVERING THEIR PRODUCT, LIKE JUDAS, THEY TURN ON THEIR FRIENDS. THE NO LAYOFF PROVISION GUARANTEES A PERMANENT PROFESSIONAL WORKFORCE. THAT’S WHAT DMA PREFERS BUT THEY CHOOSE TO ELIMINATE THESE PROFESSIONAL EMPLOYEES.

  • Roy Braunstein

    For Full disclosure, I am the retired National Legislative
    and Political Director of the American Postal Workers
    Union, and I know Jerry Cerasale, Senior Vice-President
    at the DMA very, very well, all the way back to when he
    was the counsel at the House Post Office and Civil Service
    Committee. The DMA Grassroots Action Center asks that
    the Postmaster General be given the authority to “right-size” the USPS. On May 23, 2011 the APWU and the USPS
    signed a four-year binding agreement that contained
    concessions from the union, in exchange for the continuation of the no-layoff provision, and continuation of their health and retirement benefits. It is very, very
    misleading for the DMA to promote giving the PMG
    the authority to “right-size” the USPS, without subtly
    promoting layoffs, and that would in fact, “throw out
    union contracts.” Shame, Shame, Shame!!!

  • Me

    I guess the DNA didn’t read how the PM General also wants to increase the time standards fir all classes of mail. First class will now be five days. It’s amazing how this always gets let out of the stories. The DMA gets a good deals from the USPS and they don’t want to Lose all the profits they are receiving off of the postal service employees backs. It’s time for us as the working class not just postal workers to stand up to these greedy corporations and politicians and say enough is enough. We are the ones that make the economy run, we are the ones that make our companies money. It’s not the executives and politicians yet we make much less than them. Why do they deserve so much more pay when we are the ones doing the work to make the business money. Time to stand up write your politician and tell them the workers have rights and it’s time to start thinking about the workers in this country. Politicians like to say how hard the blue collar earners work and their work ethic but they are the first ones to lose pay and benefits and get crapper on from the media

  • tom cruise

    NALC no concessions,no give backs

  • JT

    Dougie…I agree with you. The union is really trying to save that Saturday delivery…for no reason. “They are being a penny wise a pound foolish.” The union reps are wearing 6day is the right way t shirts and saying it’s the only way to save the postal service. It’s really the other way around. It already only takes about 5 hours to deliver the routes.

  • tom

    Hey j t, who are you,
    if the postal service goes to 5 days, it immediately loses 17 percent of its parcel business to fed ex and ups. the postal service is and has been building on that aspect of the business and it is gaining market share.
    The fat is in the middle, we all know that.
    LIPOSTUCI0N will cure their ills.

  • Joseph Breckenridge

    The Direct Marketing Association believes that breaking contracts is good business policy? A nation in which the various players cannot trust each other to keep their word is a nation in trouble. Deep trouble. This call to disregard contracts needs to be met head on. DMA has relatively few voices, though they are backed by major money. We have many and though we don’t have their deep pockets we do have the vote and the promise (call it a threat if you want) to punish lawmakers who forget who the people are. Let’s pick up the phone and remind Congress that no nation and no economy can survive if contracts mean nothing. Without trust and confidence the whole thing falls apart.

  • Bob felechner

    Mother worked 30+ years with G.M., union demands kept escalating until benefits were economically unattainable. Stocks dropped to zero, She lost close to 100,000 dollars….30 years represented by the union …same will happen to the Post Office….

  • Joseph Breckenridge

    To Jerry Cerasale, Senior VP at DMA…I hope you are right in saying that breaking contracts is not your intent. However, if you are sincere (and I believe you are) the DMA needs to make this particular VERY clear in its communication with its members and with lawmakers. Given the blood lust in DC the language used is like shouting “fire” in a crowded theatre. You may not have set the fire, but because of reckless language people and their rights are going to get trampled. Also, you need to explicitly contradict the PMG request to break the contract otherwise it may be hard to believe you are operating in good faith.

  • Buck Naked

    Full disclosure: front-line grunt mailhandler. DMA. I laugh when I think that these people are doing what the USPS does for a fraction of the cost. How do you suppose they do that? Sweat shop conditions utilizing slave labor at minimum wage and zero benefits. I know first hand. I have been the mailhandler/driver-assist on trips to pick up their handywork. I have visited these facilities. Call in sick; you’re fired. Late; fired. Get injured; fired.
    A former plant manager in my facility was discovered to be a partner in a private mail center across the street from my plant. Conflict of interest? Heh, he was promoted to district manager in a “sunshine” district. I say do away with the private mail prep houses and you remove the leeches. The Post Office CAN NOT be run like every other business because it simply is not ‘any other other business’. Name one other business that CAN NOT make a profit by law? Certainly not DMA!

  • Rich

    The PMG has done an excellent job of getting everyone to take the bait. Just listen to all of you. When all of this started it was all about the pre-funding debacle several years ago. That’s all we needed was to have our billions returned to us and everything was alright. The PMG has realized that he has friends on the right and with the climate surrounding Washington and the Postal Service he knows that he holds the cards to call whatever shots he wants to call. He is using that leverage to make all kinds of demands and changes that really do not need to be made. So to fix the Postal Service financial woes we have gone from a payback of the Over payment into the retirement funds, fixing the pre-funding issue, early outs, closing post offices, a call for 5 day delivery, the DUO process, a call to reduce the workforce by over 200,000, the proposal to close 300 mail processing plants, instead of CPU’S “Village Post Offices”, change or dismiss labor contracts and basically have the right to layoff all of us that he would like to. I’m sure there is more I just can’t think of all of the proposals at this time. The point I am trying to make is that several years ago all the Postmaster General and the Postal Service needed was some money returned to us that belonged to us anyway and the pre-funding requirement tweaked. Since then and especially since the TeaBaggers have shown a willingness to not cooperate except when it comes to hurting labor, the PMG has been on a tear, knowing that the teaparty has been successfull in getting what they want when they want it. What we should be ashamed of as Postal Workers is that we have let him do this to us. We let him get us caught up in all the other topics when it would have only taken one issue to tweak to fix everything. Shame on us for not staying focused on H.R. 1351. The PMG reminds me of Steve Martin in the movie the Jerk. Towards the end of the movie when everything comes crumbling down and he is leaving his house he states that he doesn’t need anything but as he is leaving his house he starts saying that he needs one thing and thats all he needs but then he retracts that and says he needs something else and thats all he needs then he does this over and over. Postmaster Patrick Donahoe a.k.a. Navin R Johnson.

  • postman

    Hey jerry i havent had a real postmaster in years. Why we paying people to play rotate the postmaster and live at the holiday inn for months at a time. I would quit for you guys if I could just have the money being spent on hotels and milage for a year. We wouldn’t need any unions but you guys can’t follow any written quidelines…see ya in the unemployment line

  • Bonnie

    If your a good worker why worry? In the private sector the lazy and troublesome workers get let go first…seniority doesn’t matter. So if your a good worker, you will still have a job. If you are a lazy worker, you will be gone. Welcome to the private sector non union workforce.

  • OG

    DMA: if USPS was a business then they will end the unfair worksharing discounts given to large mailers, pass the exigent rate increase without any interference from your organization and add a hefty fuel surcharge on your bill. Postal HQ supported the 2006 PAEA crap and so did the DMA.

    OG

  • Paul

    Unbelievable! A country that is based on Unionism (remember-United States, to form a more perfect union) but doesn’t allow people to form unions and/or does anything to decertify unions. The Bush republican machine really pulled a good one when they required the USPS to pre-fund healthcare for employees 75 years from now. The USPS would have been in the black the last 4 years if it wasn’t required to pay this pre-fund. Let the rich get richer and the middle class, well just get rid of it. Let’s go way back. Let’s publicly stone some poor people to death or publicly feed undesirable poor people to lions, it’ll make republicans happy & cuddly inside. God said so.

  • Mark

    Folks, the billions of dollars in prefunding that the USPS is asking for has probably been spent by the government, who knows that they have no way to pay it back. So they are making the USPS the scapegoat to try and avoid taking blame for the whole situation. Republicans and the tea party have been trying to use any situation to break unions and this is another. DMA has definitely gone too far with their recent statement. Funny how these scare tactics have come at the same time as the start of contract negotiations with the NALC. This country is going downhill fast and the Republicans and the tea party are leading the way.

  • Scout

    A fare days pay will get you more then a fare day of work.A low days pay will give you a slow day of work.I can see it now, mail backed up and longer lines at the sales counter,OH boy I can’t wait.Let the games begin my fellow workers.I say no contract then we should have the right to strike.

  • The Beast

    I wonder what would happen if DMA came on the workroom floor and saw what becomes of their mailings. Then, just think, what would happen if Donahoe was given the ‘flexibility he needed’. The service DMA received would drop drastically (if that’s possible). Cutting service and weakening our network will only bring poorer service quality and less revenue. More cuts will be necessary. Why are they not looking to grow and create supplemental revenue through other services? Innovation brings profitability, not service cuts.

  • Terry

    The OIG should be investigating DMA and seeing who, how, why- they have so much power to manipulate Congress and lobbying. Follow the money and maybe we will find out how and why the half truths about the USPS condition-reasons are never continually published!

  • MNCLERK

    Someone offered up this idea once before, but a good transparency measure could be to seek funding directly from payroll deductions, as the Treasury Dept does for other federal agencies, but not for us, why?. A small one or two percent tax, deducted from all workers paychecks could provide us with an additional 15-20 billion in annual funding. People would see this deduction (transparency) and be nudged to use the postal service more, as they are with other services. Theres enough there to actually move all current employees to a fair and equitable pension plan as well, off of the thief savings plan.

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  • Underdog

    It’s time Pat the privatizer resigned. Donawhore is bought and paid for by the the Koch bros. Resign asshole and get real leadership for the USPS.

  • LAG

    I have to agree with Terry, but I believe it goes much deeper. What does the Postmaster General have to personally gain from all of this – along with Senior Vice President DMA’s Jerry Cerasale. Do they own or have stock in business that they will personally profit from if they are able to destroy the Postal Service?

  • hayyahay

    I’M a rural carrier and 40% of the mail I deliver on Saturday is still in their boxes on Monday. I see no impact on service by discontinuing deliveries on Saturday. Let it go. Save the USPS.

  • Frankie

    The Post Office is planning on consolidating 252 processing plants. If this happens, not only will there be local job loss but a local letter will take 2-3 days to get to the destination. Save Americas Postal Service without using tax payer dollars. Print the Petition at http://www.saveamericaspostalservice.com and have your friends, family, & co-workers sign it. Then send all the signatures you collect to your congressman. To find your congressman’s address, visit House.gov. You can also email you congressman. Just goto House.gov, type in your zipcode, and then email your representative. Ask them to support the Bill HR 1351.

  • Gregg

    I am a 30 year member of the APWU.This morning,on the clock,I had to watch a Video of PMG Donagoon explain why the USPS had to consider consolidating 252 plants,affecting 30-35,000 employees.His little video said we would probably never see one single red cent of the pre-funding money.And we should explore other ways to keep the USPS solvent.Lets see.How can the USPS save money,without service being affected?? 1.Lower your salary.2.Reduce management.3.Eliminate on-line bill paying.4.Offer a VERA to all eligible CSRS employees.5.Give em a one time $25,000 and maybe add 3 years seniority.6.All the above!!

  • Pete Bleek

    All government actions and decisions are based on one question. Is it good for business? 1st class mail has been used to subsidize business mail. With the decrease in 1st class mail business mailers are worried they may have to pay the real cost of delivery. A new business model is necessary for mailers to keep their subsidy.

  • Mark

    We deliver what we want, when we want for you. Come on you chicken bleep Congressmen and women, pass HR 1351. Supporting this bill will help save the USPS and your job as well. Or are you only concerned about your overcompensated jobs you currently hold?

  • Timbo

    If the big mailers were made to pay a standard twenty cents for each piece of this crap we have to deliver for them, we could be billions of dollars to the plus side. It really pisses me off that hard working people have to pay the current postage rate, while these blood suckers pay low prices on a bunch of crap that takes extra time to break down for delivery and extra time to deliver. Most people think that these big mailers pay the same price as they do to mail something and are extremely upset when they learn they do not. Let’s make it known. Pass the word. BIG MAILERS ARE A RIPOFF.

  • Chuck

    A “real business?” OK, let’s take the shackles off and operate like a “real business” and strike the P.O. See how DMA would like that.